Examining the Effects of Popular Children’s Media on Young Girls’ Body Image

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Examining the effects of popular children’s Media on young girls’ body image
Sharon Hayes and Stacey Tantleff-Dunn
University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA

A study was done to explore the effects of short exposure to appearance-related media on young girls’ body image. Some writings/studies has suggested that girls at the age of 6 and older are experiencing problems with their body, or body dissatisfaction (Dohnt & Tiggemann, 2005). Some researchers are even saying that girls as young as 5 are having problems with their body image. There is some evidence that suggests that young children are aware of being thin or the “thin ideal” that exists in today’s society. Researchers are focusing on the information underneath
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The majority of children were at a healthy weight (52.2%), 22.2% were obese, 12.2% were overweight, and 13.4% were underweight. For measures, ten children participated in a pilot study to access and refine all included measures. Pilot study results helped to inform the organization of the current study, and the pilot information is compared to each relevant section.
For the video stimuli, children in the experimental group were shown a video containing appearance-related clips from 10 animated movies (e.g., Cinderella, Barbie in the Nutcracker, Little Mermaid, Anastasia). These clips only contained animated characters. In one clip, it showed that in Beauty and The Beast, Gaston said that Belle is ‘the most beautiful girl in town and that makes her the best.’ 8 out of the 10 movie clips shown included appearance-related comments or these clips showed changing clothes to enhance one’s beauty like in Cinderella when the fairy godmother gives her a beautiful princess gown. These clips were shown for 1-2 minutes for a total of 14 minutes (approx.). The control group viewed clips from movies that did not contain any appearance-related messages (e.g. Lilo and Stitch, Dora the Explorer, Clifford). Each video contained a human figure, but the human figure was usually a secondary character, compared to the experimental group when the human character was primary. These clips were also shown for 1-2 minutes for a total of 14 minutes (approx.).
In the Child interview, a

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